PASSINGS: Egon Ronay, Peter Keefe, Tom Stith, F. James McDonald

Egon Ronay

English food critic wrote restaurant guides


Egon Ronay, 94, an English food critic whose eponymous restaurant guides helped Britain embrace fine dining after years of postwar austerity, died Saturday at his home west of London after a short illness, said family friend Nick Ross.

Born in Budapest,


, in 1915, Ronay was the son of a prosperous restaurant owner whose business was ruined by

World War II

. Ronay left communist Hungary for Britain in 1946.

He worked as a restaurant manager before opening his own restaurant called the Marquee, which served French food. After writing about food for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, in 1957 he produced his first guide, modeled on


guides. They were researched with anonymous reviewers. Restaurants displayed a blue Egon Ronay label as a seal of approval.

Ronay also rated food at airports and highway service stations and was a consultant to a chain of pubs. He said his goal was to raise the quality of dining for everyone, not just the elite.

Ronay sold the guides to the Automobile Assn. in 1985 but went to court and regained the right to the Egon Ronay name years later, after the company that had bought them went bankrupt.

Peter Keefe

Creator of 1980s cartoon series 'Voltron'


Peter Keefe, 57, executive producer and creator of the 1980s cartoon series "Voltron: Defender of the Universe," died May 27 in Rochester, N.Y., of cancer, said Steve Syatt, his publicist.

Keefe adapted two existing Japanese animated series into one storyline that became "Voltron," the tale of a super-robot that debuted in 1984 and became a success in ratings and merchandising.

"We never considered that Voltron would become a household word," Keefe told the Associated Press in 1986.

Born in Rochester, Keefe started his television career as a movie critic in St. Louis, where his mother, Anne Keefe, was a radio personality on KMOX. He produced "Voltron" and "Denver the Last Dinosaur" while working at the St. Louis company World Events.

Tom Stith

, a prolific scoring small forward who led St. Bonaventure to its first


basketball tournament berth in 1961, then played one season for the

New York Knicks

before his


career was cut short by


, died Sunday at a hospital in Olean, N.Y., after a long battle with cancer and kidney problems. He was 71.

F. James McDonald

, president and chief operating officer of

General Motors Corp.

from February 1981 until August 1987, died Sunday,the Detroit automaker said in a statement without giving a specific cause of death. He was 87.

— Times staff and wire reports